Muslims are likely to ask Christians a typical set of questions. Some are quicksand Unwell admit attempting to keep away from. As an illustration, Ive been requested repeatedly if I help Western navy intervention within the Center East. Equally precarious and open-ended, Muslims are sometimes curious what Christians consider Mohammed. These questions and others like them can simply distract from the gospel message and smother potential gospel conversations.
However there may be one query I dont instantly look to sidestep: Do you imagine Jesus is Gods Son? Sure, this query is a possible landmine. Muslims ask it already understanding how offensive our response could be. Islam ardently rejects the doctrine of the Trinity and defends absolutely the oneness of Allah. To say that God has a Son denies monotheism, of their minds, and constitutes the sin of blasphemy (orshirk).
For that reason we cant ignore the thorny query of Jesuss Sonship. This Muslim problem calls for a transparent reply. How we reply has the whole lot to do with the Christian understanding of God and his gospeland it finally impacts each space of the Christian life.
Whoever Has the Son Has Life
Whoever has the Son has life (1 John 5:12). These arent merely the phrases of the apostle John; we imagine theyre the phrases of the everlasting God to us. That is how he has outlined everlasting life: that we might know the one true God and the one he despatched (John 17:3).
Gods self-revelation is the explanation we name Jesus the Son. Man didnt provide you with this time period. The angel Gabriel introduced this identify of Jesus earlier than his start (Luke 1:32), and demons clearly acknowledged the person from Nazareth because the Son of the Most Excessive God (Luke 8:28). Later, God the Spirit impressed the apostles to put in writing of Jesus on this manner, provocative as it could be.
We cant ignore the thorny query of Jesuss sonship. . . . How we reply has the whole lot to do with the Christian understanding of God and the gospeland it finally impacts each space of the Christian life.
But, maybe most importantly, Jesus spoke about himself this fashion (John 10:36; see additionally 11:4). Right into a strictly monotheistic (maybe extra so than modern-day Islam) context of Judaism, Jesus deliberately referred to himself as Son. He insisted that he be understood as such, continuously talking of his distinctive relationship with the Father, even when he knew stoning would ensue.
Now, Jesus couldve tiptoed across the delicate matter with out denying the character of the Trinity. Maybe, we could muse, he lacked a political group to assist him spin his message. However as a Jew, Jesus likely realized he was breaking greater than mere taboo when he revealed his distinctive Sonship. But he did it anyway. I and the Father are one (John 10:30) mustve been a chilly slap to the cheek of the usual Jewish consciousness.
And so, I suppose, it have to be a slap within the face of Jesus if we must always ever outright deny him as Son. In the present day, after we want to keep away from controversy with our Muslim neighbors, or want to defend Christianity from accusations of being a patriarchal faith, we could also be tempted to keep away from phrases for God corresponding to “Father” and “Son.” However we mustnt be ashamed of Jesus, even when the query is available in heated dispute. We should keep away from the temptation to judiciously describe the person from Galilee as something apart from the Son of God, the second particular person of the Godhead. For to disclaim what Jesus affirmed (on the threat, and finally the fee, of his life) is to disclaim life itself.
Denying the Son isnt some non-obligatory path; it means dropping our manner. If having the Son is life, forsaking the Son embraces demise.
Jesus stated that denying him would lead to him denying us (Matt. 10:33). We should come to phrases with this promise. Denying the Son isnt some non-obligatory path; it means dropping our manner. If having the Son is life, forsaking the Son embraces demise. In a while, John worded this similar thought a bit in another way. To reject the Son, he stated, is the spirit of antichrist. And even now, that spirit is on the planet(1 John 2:2223).
Hazard of Avoiding the Son
I cant consider a extra pertinent phrase for a Muslim-background believer tempted to reject the Son for worry of demise. Or for the missionary who needs to border his enchantment in order to not lose a listening to, and a buddy. Or for these working in a Muslim context who would translate the phrases of God in order to not offend or mislead. And even for modern Westerners who is perhaps skittish about solely utilizing a masculine pronoun for God.
Its putting that the biblical authors didnt detour from talking of Jesuss Sonshipdespite understanding the way it might be misconstrued of their context, whether or not by monotheistic Jewish powerbrokers or Greek-demigod worshipers. They didnt go for one thing easier or much less offensive. And we shouldnt assume their use of the time period Son outcomes from the laziness of religious-insider speech. No, they acknowledged the audacity of Jesuss declare to the title of Son of Godand the bloody ramifications of such an announcement. To utter the phrase Jesus, Son of God was without delay blasphemy to Jews and tyranny to Romans, simply as it’s immediately within the Muslim world.
We mustnt be ashamed of Jesus, even when the query is available in heated dispute. We should keep away from the temptation to judiciously describe the person from Galilee as something apart from the Son of God.
Clearly, the biblical writers selected the time period deliberately, understanding what it meant for the character of the Godhead and the sample of the Christian life. They used it theologically, to speak that means and keep it up themes of Sonship alongside Scripture’s unfolding storyline. Starting with Adam, then to Eves seed and Abrahams offspring, from the nation of Israel to the consultant king within the line of David. Every a son and shadow of the Son to daybreak in future Bethlehem.
However Jesus wasnt referred to as Son just because he was a male little one born to Mary. Muslims simply misunderstand this. The Son who was given, Isaiah says, can also be Mighty God (Isa. 9:6). In a number of locations Scripture results in the conclusion that this boy by start was himself God, the everlasting Son from the Fathers bosom (John 1:18). This familial, intimate description conveys a picture of loving Trinitarian relationship that’s central to our testimony of the Christian God. On the similar time, this terminology of Son denotes, in a single easy phrase, the twin realities of distinction and id throughout the Godhead, which John’s Gospel emphasizes from the start.
John pushes our understanding of Sonship even additional: Jesuss relationship with the Father is supposed to be prototypical of the believers personal relationship with the heavenly Father. We namebrotherthe one who referred to as GodFather. As such, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus (a phrase utilized by each Paul and Peter) is to be seen additionally asours. Our life mirrors that of our Elder Brother, at all times relying on and doing the need of our shared Father.
The idea of Sonship isnt a debate caught up within the cobwebs of an ivory tower. . . . This has to do with Christianity of the on a regular basis.
Which means those that circumvent the theme of Sonshipwhether catering to the sensitivities of these involved with gendered language or these defending Islamic monotheismdo so at nice injury to a biblical understanding of the conventional Christian life. The idea of Sonship isnt a debate caught up within the cobwebs of an ivory tower. Its not even restricted to a theological problem of Trinitarian formulation. This has to do with on a regular basis Christianity.
To know Jesus as Son is to grasp the religious adoption of the believer, the connection of God as heavenly Father, its implications for our obedience as sons, the brotherhood of the saints, the privilege of childlike prayer, and the present and rights of our inheritance. It’s to grasp the Christian religion.
Embrace the Reward of the Son
Subsequently, it might be a grave mistake to keep away from a difficult query on the Sonship of Jesus, or to duck the dialogue altogether. We cannotwe should notrephrase Son of God into some other title (even a biblically correct one). Doing so tampers with the phrases of God. It elevates our sensitivities over Gods self-revelation. It distorts the everlasting nature of and relationships throughout the Trinity. It reframes the biblical witness. As if that weren’t sufficient, it additionally hinders a brand new believers skill to understand biblical typology and the event of biblical revelation. In the end, it could stunt their development by limiting their religion in Jesus as brother and God as Father.
So we should not dodge the query, however as an alternative be prepared with a solution concerning the glory of the Son, our Savior. As a result of to us a baby has been born, to us a Son is given. And there’s no disgrace in that present.